Friday, August 17, 2012

The Blessings of God's Godly Servants

1 Chronicles 23:28 For their office is to assist the sons of Aaron with the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts and in the chambers and in the purifying of all holy things, even the work of the service of the house of God

The Beneficial Ministry of God's Godly Servants
Over the past week we have been drawing parallels between the three sets of ministering families among the Levites: The Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarites, and the New Testament office of Deacon.  Both groups, though differing in form and in different times of redemptive history, nevertheless have one main theme in common: they are God's Godly servants.

In our study of these groups, we have noticed three primary functions by which each has benefited the people of God:
1. God's Godly Servants Share the Load of Ministry
2. God's Godly Servants Love the things of God
3. God's Godly Servants are Living Families

In looking at these snapshots of the Old Covenant Levites and New Testament Deacons, the question we want to know is: how does the remainder of Biblical history view these sets of servants.  In the scheme of redemptive history, God's Godly Servants ended up benefiting the people of God.

How the Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarites developed through Old Testament History
Over four hundred years after Moses gave instructions in Numbers 3-4 regarding these three clans of the Levites, we wonder: did they still remain intact?  As we fast forward over 400 years later, we discover that all three were organized by David, bearing their same names and carrying on their beneficial service to the Priests serving in the temple. As 1 Chronicles 23:28 shows, they were used of God to benefit His people in the following ways:
1.  They assisted Aaron and his sons, the priesthood
2.  They purified the holy things in the courts and chambers
3.  They served as a family to model to the people what it meant to serve God

Like we already mentioned, their calling to be load carriers in the ministry, love the things of God and be a Living family still carried forth into the days of David.

How Deacons fare in the Bible as God's Godly Servants
As we come to the book of Acts, how did those called to aid in the needs of the widows at Jerusalem fare? Most likely being the forerunners to the Deacon ministry outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Acts 7-8 records for us the outcomes of two Deacons: Stephen and Phillip.

1. Acts 6:6ff. After the seven Deacons (or forerunners of the office) were chosen, the Bible says many converts resulted and the church grew even more!  No doubt, untold benefits were given due to the church's needs being taken care of by Godly servants who desired to serve God's people with the Spiritual Leaders, the Apostles, who were providing Pastoral leadership of the rapidly growing church. 

2. In Acts 7, Stephen ended up sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with his Jewish oppenents, laying out one of the finest summaries of scripture you would ever want to read.  He loved the things of God and carried the load of ministry, giving his life in the process.

3. In Acts 8, Phillip, another "Deacon", shared the Gospel and a man from Ethiopia ended up believing on Jesus Christ.  Phillip baptized that man, and then was wisked away!  Like Stephen, he too loved the things of God and carried the load of ministry.

4. We know in 1 Timothy 3:7-13 that the office of Deacon is formerly described.  We see there the Deacon's life, home-life and spiritual life being the testing grounds for his qualifications.  Deacons are God's Godly servants in the New Testament who with their wives and children are to be a living family, who loves the things of God and aids the Pastor in carrying the load of the ministry.  This is why we see both offices mentioned in the same chapter. 

5. Philippians 1:1-6.  This letter of Paul is addressed to all the saints in Christ, the Elders and the Deacons.  Paul's positive remarks about the Philippians' faith-walk shows us the by-products of a well-functioning deacon ministry.  When Deacons and the Pastor/Elder work together, fulfilling their respective roles, the congregation is duly equipped to be participators in the Gospel, empowered by God to do His will. (Philippians 1:5-6).

As we can see, Biblical testimony confirms the track records of Deacons who stay faithful to their office and service to the King.  May we as God's people aim to emulate the example we are called to through the Godly servants he put in our lives.